Quinoa Mac N’ Cheese (healthier than mac n’ cheese itself!)

So, what we’re doing here is taking something healthy and making it slightly unhealthier. It’s still reasonably healthy if you make the right substitutions! :D

On average, divide this into 6 servings and each serving is 340-400 calories. :)

There are also fancy substitutions and quick and not-so-fancy substitutions!

What You Need:

  1. 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  2. 1 medium leek; both white and pale green parts halved and sliced, BUT if you want to cut back on time, just use chives
  3. 1.2 cup of red/green pepper
  4. 1/2 cup of diced tomato
  5. 1 cup milk (nonfat for healthy, 2% for slightly unhealthier; it’s all tasty to me!)
  6. OPTIONAL: vegetable [preferred taste] or chicken stock; water is fine too
  7. 1 1/2 cups grated cheese (less or more, this is for sprinkling)
  8. seasoning salt (or just sea salt to be healthier)
  9. 2 large eggs
  10. garlic
  11. olive oil
  12. OPTIONAL: Panko bread srumbs for topping
  13. other optionals: crushed red pepper, salsa, sour cream, scallions, etc for toppings

What You Do:

  1. Heat oil in pan and Add the leek (or if using chives, wait till a bit later to add the chives), tomatoes, and bell peppers.
  2. Cover and cook 5 mins or until slightly tender.
  3. Stir in quinoa and garlic, and cook, uncovered, 3-4 mins, or until grains start to turn opaque. (They will not fully be cooked yet.)
  4. Add 3 cups water (or stock) and season with sea salt/seasoning salt. Cover and reduce heat to med-low and simmer 15-20 mins or more, (depends and also what kind of quinoa you use) or until most liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand 5 mins.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 13×9 inch dish with cooking spray.
  6. Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese. Stir very well and let some of the cheese melt.
  7. Transfer to prepared baking dish and if bread crumbs, add those yummy bits now. You can also sprinkle a bit more cheese on now if you prefer for topping. Bake 25-35 mins, or until your once goopy mixture turns more solid and mac n’ cheesy like.
  8. Now add those toppings you wanted. I really like crushed red pepper.
  9. This meal goes great with a side of steamed broccoli in lemon juice!